Dental Medicine

“There are as many reasons to be a dentist as there are dentists. It is a career that provides plenty of rewards and challenges as well as an opportunity to help people and make communities healthier places.” – American Dental Education Association

“With population growth, changes in health care law and the upcoming retirement of a large group of dentists educated during the 1960s and 1970s, the need for new dentists is rapidly increasing. Practicing dentist-to-population ratios vary widely, but range from roughly 42 to 108 dentists per 100,000 people, according to the American Dental Association.

People choose to become dentists because they can…” – read the full description on the ADEA website.


“As you look ahead to dental school graduation day, it’s a good idea to look beyond graduation to what your post-education life will look like. Have you been thinking about what kind of practice you want to pursue? Have you thought about all the possibilities?

There are plenty of them, to suit every dentist’s preferences, goals and lifestyles. When thinking about your practice, think about how you want to live, what kind of practice interests you and the type of work environment you would like best.” (American Dental Education Association)

  • Academic Dentistry and Dental Education Looking to mold the minds of the next generation of dental students? Or perhaps you enjoy writing? Consider pursuing a career in dental education or academics.
  • Public Health Care Policy Looking to put your dental skills to good use, but not interested in direct patient care? Consider a career in public health care policy.
  • Self-Employed in Private Practice Looking to become an entrepreneur, practicing dentistry on your own terms? Learn more about the benefits of being self employed in the private practice arena.

ADEA’s Dental School Explorer

  • $25
  • Updated each year
  • View detailed statistics for US and Canadian dental schools

Centralized Application Services

Personal Statement

  • Dental Medicine (maximum length 4,500 characters)
    • Brainstorming: A well-crafted personal statement takes time. Begin by brainstorming ideas for your statement, thinking about what you would like to share with the admissions committees. Consult with mentors, friends and family on topics.
    • Outline: Look for themes within your list of brainstorm ideas. Choose a few points from your list that seem especially salient, and develop them into an outline of your essay.
    • Working Draft(s): Once you have written a draft, have people read it and give you honest feedback. Incorporate feedback and come back to it in a couple weeks and see if you still feel that it conveys the impression that you meant to give, and make necessary edits. Consider making an appointment with the Writing Center. Make sure that you have a developed draft on MAP, to review during your Application Readiness Meeting.
    • Resources:

Secondary Applications

  • Secondary applications may be included within the primary application or sent directly to applicants by a school’s admissions office. In most cases, you will receive secondary applications after your primary application has been verified by the application service (4-6 weeks after submission).
  • Schools have varying criteria for who they invite to submit a secondary application. Some schools will send them to every candidate who applies to their program. Others will send them only to applicants who meet their GPA and entrance exam score requirements. Some schools will select only candidates who they are very interested in for secondaries. Your application is not considered to be complete until you have submitted your secondary application.
  • Secondary applications are designed by individual programs to learn more about applicants. It is important to realize that secondary applications are both labor intensive and expensive. They typically require answers to essay questions and a fee. Set aside time and money in preparation for writing your essays and paying for submission. Returning your secondary applications within a week or two of receipt demonstrates your continued interest in that program. Waiting longer may hurt your application.
  • When you formulate your list of schools to which you plan to apply, take these secondary applications into account. Don’t apply to so many schools that you won’t have the time or money for secondary applications.

General Timeline

  • January of year prior to matriculation – Begin Letter Packet process (see below)
  • May – ADEA AADSAS opens for editing
  • June – ADEA AADSAS opens for submission
  • Fall/early spring of year of matriculation – Interview invites/interviews
  • December – First acceptances to dental programs (beginning 12/1)
  • May – Last day to hold multiple deposits dental programs (5/5) & dental schools go to wait-lists for second round of accepts (beginning 5/6)
  • Summer – Start dental program

The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) is the required entrance exam for Dental programs.

  • The DAT is administered year-round at Prometric test centers in the U.S. and Canada. The DAT is comprised of multiple-choice test items consisting of a battery of four tests: 1. Survey of the Natural Sciences, 2. Perceptual Ability, 3. Reading Comprehension, and 4.Quantitative Reasoning.
  • The DAT should be scheduled only after all science prerequisite courses are successfully completed and the applicant has had 4-6 months to study. If the resulting date would be later than June, then deferral to the next year is highly recommended. Applicants cannot sit for the exam any later than June and receive a committee letter that cycle.

Dental applicants can begin to prepare for their application cycle by participating in the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Application Readiness Program. This includes completing a self-assessment form through Qualtrics, which encourages applicants to reflect on academic and experiential preparation for their designated health profession program. After applicants complete their self-assessment, they will be invited to set up an Application Readiness Meeting (ARM). This 45-minute meeting will allow the applicant to meet with their advisor to discuss their self-assessment and plan for the upcoming application cycle. This will also be a great time to ask questions about the ADEA AADSAS application, the DAT, and other elements of the application process.  

The Dental Application Readiness Program is an included and required part of the Letter Packet process. Please refer to the PreMed/PreHealth Letter Process information below for important deadlines regarding the Dental Applicant Readiness Program and Letter Packet process.  


A Letter Packet is a composite letter that includes full content of all required evaluator letters (requested via your Medical Applicant Portal) plus an institutional cover sheet from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program.

While do not restrict our Letter Packet service based on grades or exam scores. However, the Letter Packet process includes an Application Readiness Program which allows applicants and their individual PreMed/PreHealth Advisor to determine the best time to apply.

To qualify for a Letter Packet, all applicants and re-applicants* must meet the deadlines and requirements below.

In addition to all other Letter Packet requirements and deadlines, students in the Northeastern University Pre-Medical Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Undergraduate Certificate program must complete 8 courses (with corresponding labs), earning a minimum grade of C, by the conclusion of the Summer 1 semester of the application year to qualify for a Letter Packet.

If you graduated/completed your post-bacc studies three or more years ago, it is recommended that you apply with individual letters of evaluation following the instructions in the common application for your profession, or the directions of the specific schools if they have a different application process. If you choose to send individual Letters of Evaluation, please do not request them through MAP.

Applicants who are accepted to a dental school and decline matriculation are not eligible for future Letter Packets. The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program has a three-time limit for Letter Packets. The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program cannot forward Letter Packets or individual letters submitted to MAP to any program other than what was designated on the original request. Thus, we are unable to send letters to medical masters or post-baccalaureate programs. Please contact your evaluators directly to request that letters be tailored to the program to which you are applying.

Requirements and Deadlines**

First Time Applicants
  • January 31: Letter Packet Agreement & Self-Assessment due.
  • May 1: All required and optional letters of evaluation due in MAP.
  • May 15: Deadline to complete required Application Readiness Meeting (ARM) with your individual PreMed/PreHealth Advisor
  • June 30: Deadline to take DAT.
  • June 30: Deadline to complete MAP, submit primary application, and request Letter Packet.
  • May 1: Letter Packet Agreement & Self-Assessment due.
  • May 1: All updated letters of evaluation due in MAP.
  • May 15: Deadline to complete required Application Readiness Meeting (ARM) with your individual PreMed/PreHealth Advisor
  • June 30: Deadline to retake DAT.
  • June 30: Deadline to complete MAP, submit primary application, and request Letter Packet.

*Re-applicants refers to Northeastern University students and alumni who have already completed the PreMed/PreHealth Letter Process for a previous cycle and are requesting a Letter Packet to re-apply to their programs.

**To be completed in your application year. Requirements and deadlines are subject to change. 

Required letters

The following letters of evaluation are required and must be requested through MAP to be eligible to request a Letter Packet.

3 Internal, Faculty Letters
  • Letters must be from Northeastern faculty (current, former, or retired).
  • Letters must be from a graded course (at least 3-credit lecture or 1-credit lab). Evaluations can be requested from in-progress courses.
  • Two of the three required internal letters must be from Biology, Chemistry, Math, or Physics (BCMP) faculty OR from the approved list of Internal Science Letters.
  • One letter may be from academic faculty in any discipline, though we recommend a non-science letter.
1 External, Clinical Letter
  • This letter must come from a practitioner in the health profession to which you are applying (i.e., DMD or DDS).
  • The letter must represent a college-level patient-facing experience (strongly recommended in-person) with a U.S. licensed dentist. The experience must be within the United States or, if abroad, with a State Department, US university/hospital sponsored, or recognized U.S. organization. Letters from family friends, even if they are dentists, are not encouraged. Letters from family members are prohibited.
2 External, Optional Letters
  • Up to two additional external letters may be requested from supervisors, research PIs, clinicians, coaches, etc.
  • Applicants may NOT use optional letter slots for additional internal academic letters unless there is a relationship with the faculty member outside of your academic coursework (i.e., research supervisor).